We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
La Rochefoucauld’s observation that “hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue” will doubtless be trotted out early and often when in the case of Eliot Spitzer and the girls. It is a famous, though often misinterpreted, observation. The epigram has generally been presented as meaning—in the words of one journalist—that “the loudest moralizers may be most suspect.” But I believe that La Rochefoucauld meant to suggest that hypocrisy was an implicit acknowledgment of the claims of virtue. Otherwise, why bother with dissimulation?
There are, as I say, many reasons to dislike Eliot Spitzer. I, too, hope he goes away, and quickly. The music critic Tim Page, referring to an unpleasant and pretentious college president, observed that he was the sort of chap that gave “pseudo-intellectuality a bad name.” I feel similarly about Eliot Spitzer and hypocrisy. His behavior gives that ambiguous vice a bad name. What’s wrong with Eliot Spitzer is not so much that he praised good things and did bad ones. Most of the items he championed in his various moral campaigns were, when you looked behind the rhetoric, of dubious value. Really, he was a power-hungry, regulation-crazed functionary whose chief sin was to harness the power of the state to destroy his enemies and aggrandize himself. Had he been a little more hypocritical he might have been less dangerous.
Kimball's understanding of the quote is exactly what mine has always been, and I find the unnamed journalist's interpretation to be a little bizarre. Talk about seeing what you want!
Eric over at Classical Values has been discussing hypocrisy in detail, with some interesting commentary. Recommended.
I believe the dividing line is self-honesty. We all try to put our best foot forward, and look as good as we hope to be. When we cease to see our frailty, and believe we are as good as we act, we are in great spiritual danger.
Assistant Village Idiot
never start believing your own press clippings, indeed.
This guy is the personality type that rises to power in the worst sort of governments.
Because we know so much about their inner circles, Hitler & Stalin come most quickly to mind, and they both had plenty of this type on staff.